‘Game played with constitution’ bad for democracy: Bizenjo

August 03, 2019

Email

Gujranwala court summons Senator over his remarks about ISI chief. — DawnNewsTV/File
Gujranwala court summons Senator over his remarks about ISI chief. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: National Party chief Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo has said that although it does not matter if he or Sadiq Sanjrani is chairman of the Senate, the “game played with the constitution and the federation” does not augur well for democracy in the country.

Mir Bizenjo, who was the joint candidate of the opposition for the office of Senate chairman when a no-vote of confidence was taken up against Senate Chairman Sanjrani on Thursday, was talking to the media here on Friday before flying back to Islamabad after a nightlong stay in Karachi.

In reply to a question, Mr Bizenjo said over what had happened in the Senate on Thursday “the spirit of the founders of the constitution might have trembled as they would have been pondering if the constitution was framed by them for its use in this way”.

Mr Sanjrani survived the crucial no-trust motion as 14 opposition senators ditched the party leadership by either voting against their own resolution or deliberately wasting their vote.

Gujranwala court summons Senator over his remarks about ISI chief

Responding to another question, Mir Bizenjo said they were aware that money and pressure would be used to get the no-trust motion defeated. “Horse-trading is a tradition of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf,” he said, adding that last year during the formation of the Punjab and federal governments Jahangir Tareen’s aircraft was flying in a similar way as it did during the process of the no-trust motion against Mr Sanjrani.

The NP leader said that the opposition could move another no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman, but any decision in this regard would be made in a multi-party conference to be convened in a few days.

Replying to another question, he said: “We have no interest in [removing] Sadiq Sanjrani but we are concerned about those elements who want to discredit the upper house.”

In reply to a question, Mir Bizenjo said he was sure that all senators belonging to his party had cast their votes against Mr Sanjrani. However, he said, the opposition parties should conduct inquiries to find out the defecting senators and seek resignations from those whose loyalty was doubtful.

Mr Bizenjo said that if the opposition wanted to topple the government, it would take less than a month, but “we think that the government needs one more warning and now the opposition has no option but to stage protests”.

Meanwhile, a court in Gujranwala has summoned Senator Bizenjo on Aug 8 to explain his allegation that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed’s “people” were behind the opposition’s embarrassing failure in the no-confidence vote against the Senate chairman.

Additional Sessions Judge Tariq Saleem Chohan accepted for hearing a petition submitted by a lawyer, Manzoor Qadir Bhinder, and summoned a report on the matter from the Gujranwala city police officer (CPO), reports Dawn.com.

As per the petitioner, after losing the Senate vote, Mr Bizenjo had made a “baseless and false” statement against the head of a state institution. Mr Bhinder claimed that it was an attempt to defame a key leader of the Pakistan Army.

He asked the court to direct the Gujranwala CPO to instruct the Civil Lines police station to register a case against Bizenjo.

The Senate secretary has also been sent a notice to ensure Mr Bizenjo’s appearance in court.

The joint opposition had last month submitted a no-confidence resolution against Mr Sanjrani and named Mr Bizenjo as its candidate for the position. On Thursday, the opposition suffered a shock defeat when it fell three votes short to dismiss the Senate chairman despite having a comfortable majority in the upper house of parliament.

After the vote, as Mr Bizenjo was walking out of the Senate building, a journalist asked if he knew the 14 turncoats who had voted against stated stance of their parties.

Mr Bizenjo responded: “These were Gen Faiz’s people. You know Gen Faiz, the ISI chief? [They] were his people.”

Hours later, ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor denounced the statement.

In a tweet posted on Maj Gen Ghafoor’s official Twitter account in the early hours of Friday morning, he said that Mr Bizenjo’s remarks were “unfounded” and did not “serve democracy”.

In a post shared on Twitter, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has also slammed Mr Bizenjo’s remarks.

He said: “Hasil Bazenjo is among the lot who have been made hero by [the] anti-Pak and anti-Army segment of media [and] politicians, he is used [and] abused by shrewd fellows like [Maulana Fazlur Rehman].”

“His rants against a very honourable officer is nothing but rubbish.”

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2019